Terry Rozier and Kelly Oubre scored 29 points apiece, but they couldn’t keep pace with Joel Embiid’s 53 points as the Charlotte Hornets lost to the Philadelphia 76ers, 131-113.
The Hornets got off to a very strong start. They took advantage of some lackadaisical 76ers passing to the tune of five first quarter steals that led directly to six points. They continued to struggle with their outside shooting, but active defense and aggressive attacking on offense kept them ahead. The 76ers went zone for the final stretch of the first quarter, and the Hornets couldn't crack it. Still, they led 21-20 after one.
The teams exchanged and-1s to give the second quarter a lively start. After some back and forth, the 76ers went on 10-0 run to take a four point lead and force a Hornets timeout. The Hornets deficit briefly ballooned to double figures, but Terry Rozier and Kelly Oubre, who combined for 32 of the Hornets 54 first half points, scrounged together a little run to keep the game close. The 76ers responded by feeding Joel Embiid, who stole Mason Plumlee and the rest of the Hornets’ lunch money. He scored 15 straight 76ers points, giving him 28 for the half. At the break, the Hornets trailed by seven.
It didn’t take long for that deficit to reach critical mass. The 76ers made six 3-pointers in the first four-and-a-half minutes of the second half with four of those coming from De’Anthony Melton. The 76ers lead was as large as 19 during the onslaught, but the Hornets didn’t let it stay that way for long. They continued to attack the paint and get to the free throw line to gradually cut the deficit back to single digits on a couple of occasions. The Hornets made 15 of 17 free throws in the quarter, which accounted for almost half of their offensive output. They trailed by just nine heading into the fourth.
Kai Jones had a pair of and-1s as the teams went back and forth to start the fourth quarter. Embiid continued to feast, and it took a collective effort from effort from all of the Hornets just to keep pace. He scored 14 of 16 points for the 76ers in his last stretch of play before being removed from the game due to the 76ers comfortable lead. He finished the night with 53 points. The 76ers got a few extra garbage time buckets to fluff the score up.
The Hornets were more competitive than the final score would imply. Aside from their inability to handle Embiid isos and post ups, they played pretty evenly with the 76ers.
The Hornets will have a couple of days off before returning home to host the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.